The U.S. Census Bureau's most recent estimates of population for 2022 were not very encouraging to southwestern Pennsylvania or the entire state.
Allegheny County is the county that has seen the most declines. Its population dropped by over 12,000 people between 2021 and 2022, and by 16,000 more since 2020.
Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler, Fayette county, Washington county, and Westmoreland had population losses of 0.8% and 0.7% respectively since 2020. Fayette county had the highest percentage loss, with 2.2% in 2020 and 1.1% in 2021. Addition of Greene and Lawrence counties, which contracted faster than Fayette and Southwest Pennsylvania lost over 22,000 people since 2020.
Here is a breakdown of local services:
Westmoreland population is down by 2,259 (0.6%) since 2020 and 1,708 (0.5%) since 2021.
The percentages of the population in Pennsylvania were almost flat. Pennsylvania's population decreased by 0.002% in 2020 and 0.003% in 2021. In 2022, the state's estimated population will be 12,972,008, down about 40,000 since 2021.
Philadelphia County has lost twice as many residents in the last two decades as Allegheny County, with a drop of more than 33,300 people from 2020 to 2021. The percentage decline was also greater than Allegheny County, with a drop of 2.1% in 2020 and a decrease of 1.4% in 2021.
In Pennsylvania, there are 67 counties. 29 of them have grown since 2020. Twenty-one counties grew from 2021 and forty-six counties shrank.
Butler County was ranked sixth in terms of percent growth since 2020 in the State. The top counties were in the central and eastern part of the state, Pike, Cumberland Adams Chester and Northhampton. Washington County was ranked 18th.
50 Beaver, No. Allegheny County, 51 Beaver County and No. Fayette County was ranked 63rd, Greene was 66th and Forest County was only a few places behind, having declined by 4,8% from 2020 and 3,9% since 2021.
Pike County has grown by 3.4% since 2020, making it the fastest-growing county of Pennsylvania. This ranked it 356th in the United States out of over 2,100 counties. Cumberland County ranked 397th in the nation as it was the 2nd fastest grower (up 3.2% since 2020).
Allegheny County has seen a faster decline in its population than 13 other counties with a population greater than 1,000,000 since 2020. Philadelphia County ranked four places behind Allegheny.
Only five metros in the United States saw a greater percentage drop than Allegheny between 2021 and 2022: Cook County, Illinois, Philadelphia County, and Kings, Queens, and Bronx Counties in New York.
The National Picture
In the United States, counties with populations greater than 250,000 in 2020 increased by an average of 0.84 percent between 2020 and 2022. The average for all counties was 0.44%.
In all counties, the estimated population grew by 53% between 2020 and 2022.
Experts say that the Covid-19 migration has largely ended, but the trend will have long-term impacts on many metros, particularly in terms of housing, affordability, and workforce.
The Sunbelt has dominated recent migration data and the ranking of top metros in terms of growth.
Florida accounted for eight of the top fifteen counties in terms of population growth between 2020-2022, with St. Johns County - home to St. Augustine - leading the pack. Five of the 15 counties were in Texas.
Richard Florida, author and urbanist, told our Future of Cities audience at the recent Future of Cities conference that the Sunbelt region's rapid growth will likely affect its affordability in years to come.
He said, 'The Covid relocation era is over.' Prices have skyrocketed in these Covid boomtowns. ... we hear people saying, "Maybe I need to go north."
Florida has said that it could provide opportunities to places such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cleveland.
He said, 'You can see that people are beginning to think of the Midwest in a way we have never considered before.
Sunbelt dominance is evident when you look at the 49 largest counties in America, those with populations over 1 million. Collin County in Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, is the fastest growing county in the Sunbelt.
Ada County in Idaho, Weld County in Colorado, and Douglas County of Utah County led the way for mountain towns outside the Sunbelt. This growth, however, has created significant challenges for these communities.
The Covid-19 recovery, the increased migration and the surge in travelers to national parks and mountain resorts during this time and the severe labor shortages across the country have all put significant pressure on ski towns as well as other hotspots of the West.
Lack of inventory and a surge in demand, like in other rapidly growing regions, led to a dramatic increase in housing costs.
Ellie Staley is the executive director of the Downtown Bozeman Partnership, located in Gallatin County, Montana. The population has grown by 4.4% over the past four years.
We've already reported that migration patterns are likely to be of particular importance in the future due to demographic changes, declining birth rates, and lower immigration numbers.